US 6889830 B2
The connecting end of the hypodermic needle is so designed that it can be attached to and then disconnected from the tip of an injection instrument by pressure, that is, an axial tractional force exerted between the said needle and the said injection instrument. The extraction device has an opening delimited by locking elements forming one piece with elastic pieces so as to allow its diameter to vary between a minimum diameter and a maximum diameter at least equal to the diameter of the said connecting end and at least one piece associated with the said locking elements for the purpose of converting an axial force exerted on the said piece into at least one radial component capable of being applied to the said elastic pieces so as to deform them radially in order to increase the diameter of the said opening when axial pressure is exerted by the said connecting end.
1. Device for separating a connecting end of a hypodermic needle from a tip of an injection instrument, the connecting end of the hypodermic needle having connectors complementary to connectors on the tip, one of the connectors having radial elasticity and devices for converting an axial force exerted between the needle and the injection instrument into at least one radial component capable of deforming the connectors, comprising an opening delimited by locking elements forming one piece with elastic pieces to allow its diameter to vary between a minimum diameter and a maximum diameter at least equal to the diameter of the connecting end and at least one piece associated with the locking elements for the purpose of converting an axial force exerted on the one piece with elastic pieces into at least one radial component capable of being applied to the elastic pieces to deform them radially so as to increase the diameter of the opening when the connecting end is displaced along its axis with its needle pointing forward through the opening and to restore its initial diameter after the connecting end has passed through it and allow the locking elements to engage with the rear face of the connecting end, wherein the device has a guiding surface concentric with the opening, wherein the device has a cylindrical housing divided longitudinally into two parts whose respective lengths are approximately equal, matching the length of the connecting end, by the opening delimited by the locking elements which form one piece with elastic arms attached to one end of the cylindrical housing which communicates with the exterior at its other end through an access opening having a diameter approximately equal to that of the connecting end of the hypodermic needle, a ring, having an internal diameter approximately equal to that of the access opening, positioned to slide in the cylindrical housing, being capable of occupying two limiting positions within the housing, in one of which positions it is adjacent to the access opening, the ring having passages in such an arrangement and of such dimensions as to allow the locking elements to project on the inner face of this ring when the latter is adjacent to the access opening, while in its other limiting position it holds the locking elements forming one piece with the elastic arms back from the connecting end to which it adheres by friction.
2. Device according to
3. Device according to
4. Device according to
This application is a Continuation application of PCT/IB01/00818 filed May 14, 2001, claiming priority of European Application No. 00810416.8 filed May 15, 2000, entitled Device for Separating the Connecting End of a Hypodermic Needle From the Tip of an Injection Instrument, which are included in their entirety by reference made hereto.
The invention relates to a device for separating the connecting end of a hypodermic needle from the tip of an injection instrument, the connecting end of the said needle having connectors complementary to the connectors on the said tip, one of the said connectors having radial elasticity and devices for converting an axial force exerted between the said needle and the said injection instrument into at least one radial component capable of deforming the said elastic connectors.
Hypodermic needles of this type are found on the market. Fixing them on the tip of an injection instrument is easier and faster because it is no longer necessary to screw the needle on, simple axial pressure sufficing to make the complementary connectors engage with each other. Theoretically separation by axial traction should also be possible but the lack of purchase makes this operation difficult for most people, and therefore it is effected in the traditional manner by unscrewing.
Given that in the case of chronic disorders requiring the daily injection of medical substances it is frequently the patient who must perform self-injection making it easier to handle injection needles meets a need, especially for the purpose of facilitating their safe removal, disposal or storage.
International publication WO 92/13585 (Aug. 20, 1992) describes a needle container comprising a conical housing. Prior to use, the needle is held by frictional forces at the open end of the conical housing. After use of the needle, the user can re-insert the needle into the conical housing, pushing the needle below elastic tabs at the open end of the conical housing. The resilient tabs snap back after the needle is fully inserted, preventing the needle from being withdrawn.
EP 0 364 839 discloses a syringe for medical use of the disposable type provided with a hollow cap that can be super-imposed to the needle to protect it after carrying out the injection. Close to the opening of the cap cavity, members are provided that firmly engage the collar of the needle when it is forced into the cap cavity.
In all of the prior art cases, when the needle is fixed at the outlet end of the syringe, the user is no longer protected from injury by the needle. Several injection devices have been proposed to obviate this inconvenience and comprise to this end a mechanism for effecting the injection, which is movable by a cocking means counter to the force of a spring into a cocking position, from which it can be released to effect an injection process, so as to act upon a piston containing fluid to be injected.
A device of this type is disclosed for example in EP 0 359 761. The housing of this device is approximately the shape of an oversize fountain pen, and the injection needle is inside the device as long as injection process is not being performed. The injection device has a mechanism used to effect the injection process, which mechanism can be moved by means of a cocking element counter to the force of a spring into a cocked position from which it can be released in order to effect an injection process. This mechanism moves the hypodermic needle axially so that it protrudes from the forward end of the housing of the device which is put into contact with the skin of the patient so that it is inserted through the skin and the liquid is injected.
With such a device, except during the injection process, the needle is inside the cylindrical barrel of the injection device, so that the user cannot see the precise position of the needle to be introduced into the opening of the housing in which the needle has to be separated from the injection device, since it is hidden from sight by the cylindrical barrel of the injection device.
The purpose of the present invention is to make the disposal of the used needles easier.
To this end the invention refers to a device for separating the connecting end of a hypodermic needle from the tip of an injection instrument, according to claim 1.
The advantage of this device lies in the simplicity both of its design and of its use. The speed of the operation of removing the needle and the possibility of protecting it from any contact after it has been separated from the injection instrument are other advantages of the device.
Other advantages and special features of this invention will become apparent from the following description, supported by the attached drawings which illustrate diagrammatically and by way of example various embodiments of the device to which the invention refers.
A hypodermic needle 2 forms one piece with a connecting end in the form of a hollow socket 2 a whose inner face has a connector consisting of at least one rib 2 b. This hollow socket 2 a is preferably made of a material which is elastically deformable so that it can dilate elastically and allow the rib 2 b to engage with a complementary connector, such as a rib, a groove or a thread 3 a, located on the outer face of a tip 3 of an injection instrument 4. It will be observed that, as shown in
In the embodiment illustrated here this injection instrument 4 resembles a ball-point pen in that it has a cylindrical barrel 5 housing a cartridge 6 intended to contain a dose of medicinal substance to be injected, the forward end of which terminates in the connecting tip 3 intended to be pushed into the socket 2 a of the hypodermic needle 2. This injection instrument 4 is of a known type, such as those disclosed e.g. in U.S. Pat. No. 5,092,842, in U.S. Pat. No. 5,114,406 or in EP 0 359 761, in which the hypodermic needle is retractable inside the cylindrical barrel in its rest position. Since this instrument does not form part of the present invention, the rest of its structure and operation will not be described in greater detail.
The device 10 for separating the connecting end 2 a of the hypodermic needle 2 from the tip 3 of the injection instrument 4 shown in
This bevelled face 13 a has the effect that, when the used hypodermic needle 2 is brought against it, guided by the cylindrical surface 5 of the barrel of the injection instrument 4 sliding within the inner face of the exterior cylindrical surface 10 a of the extraction device 10, which serves as a guiding surface for it, and when a downward axial pressure is exerted, the needle creates a centrifugal radial component which allows the elastic arms 10 b to be parted as shown in
As is shown in
This storage container 1-1 e has a housing 1 delimited by a cylindrical wall 1 b and intended to receive the hypodermic needle 2. The diameter of the cylindrical wall 1 b of the housing 1 for the hypodermic needle 2 is calculated to permit adjustment of an intermediate portion 2 c located between the socket 2 a and the needle properly so-called 2, so that this needle 2 can be correctly positioned. The upper lip 1 a of the cylindrical wall 1 b acts as the stop to a length of travel [?] provided between the socket 2 a and the intermediate portion 2 c of the needle 2. A second cylindrical wall 1 c, coaxial with the cylindrical wall 1 b of the housing 1 for the needle 2, surrounds the latter up to the point where it reaches the same level as the base of the housing 1 delimited by the cylindrical wall 1 b. A radial portion 1 d of this wall extends outwards and terminates in a third cylindrical wall 1 e, concentric with the other two walls but extending back to a higher level than they do and bounding an access opening 7.
The overall appearance of the extraction device 11-11 e properly so called is similar to that of the container 1-1 e intended to contain a sterile needle 2. It too has a housing 11 to receive a needle 2. This housing 11 is identical to the housing 1. Its upper end terminates in a lip 11 a on which rests the outer face of the socket forming the connecting end 2 a of the needle 2. In this extraction device the second cylindrical wall 11 c surrounding the wall bounding the housing 11 is continued upwards as far as the level of the upper end of the exterior wall 11 e by a number of elastic arms 12 which combine to form a cylindrical receptacle whose diameter matches that of the connecting end 2 a of the hypodermic needle 2.
These elastic arms 12 which play the same role as the elastic arms 10 b in
The upper rim of the storage container 1-1 e for a sterile needle 2 and the upper rim of the exterior wall 11 e of the extraction device 11-11 e are linked to each other by a horizontal wall 1 f. This wall 1 f can, preferably, link the container 1-1 e and the extraction device 11-11 e to other pairs of storage containers and extraction devices of the same type.
In this variation the needle, when separated from the injection instrument 4, remains trapped in the housing 11 and is therefore protected from any contact.
In the variation described in connection with
In this variation there is a container 21-21 e, more or less similar to the preceding containers, with three concentric cylindrical walls 21 b, 21 c, 21 e, but in which the housing 21 formed by the cylindrical wall 21 b, instead of receiving the hypodermic needle 2 directly, receives another receptacle 22 composed of two coaxial cylindrical pieces, one below, 22 a, accommodated and fixed within the wall 21 b of the housing 21, the other above, 22 b, extending as far as the upper end of the outer cylindrical face 21 e of the container 21-21 e and itself divided into two parts by an opening 28 formed by the locking elements 23 (
The upper part of the receptacle 22, positioned above the housing 21 of the needle 2 properly so called has approximately twice the height of the connecting end 2 a of the hypodermic needle 2. Elastic arms 22 c are located in the lower part of the upper cylindrical wall 22 b of the receptacle 22. These elastic arms 22 c are of similar design to that of the elastic arms 19 in FIG. 2. They too terminate at their upper ends in locking elements 23 which are identical to and play the same role as the locking elements 13 in the previous Figures.
The user wishing to connect the needle 2 enclosed in this container 21-21 e to the tip 3 of the injection instrument 4 positions the lower rim of the cylindrical wall 5 of the barrel of this instrument 4 on the centre of the cap 25 and then exerts axial pressure on the instrument 4. The first effect of this pressure is the piercing of the cap 25. The instrument 4 is then guided by the cylindrical wall 21 e of the container 21-21 e, bringing the tip 3 of the instrument 4 into the cavity of the socket forming the connecting end 2 a of the hypodermic needle 2. The connection between this needle 2 and the interior wall of the socket is effected by applying axial pressure to the instrument 4 sufficient to achieve deformation of a rib 2 b located on the inner face of the socket 2 a in order to allow it to be locked on to a groove or thread 3 a located on the tip 3 of the injection instrument 4.
If the needle 2 connected to the tip 3 is withdrawn along its axis it draws with it the ring 24 until the latter rests against a lip 22 d of an access opening 27 in the extraction device, this lip being formed at the upper end of the cylindrical wall 22 b of the receptacle 22. The diameter of this access opening 27 is approximately the same as that of the connecting end 2 a of the needle 2, and therefore allows the needle to freely enter into or withdraw from the container 21-21 e, causing slippage between the connecting end 2 a and the ring 24. It is obvious that the frictional force between these two pieces must be less than the axial tractional force which must be exerted between the needle 2 and the injection instrument 4 in order to separate the needle 2 from this instrument.
As is shown in
Once the sterile needle 2 has been removed from the container in the manner described the container is ready to receive the needle after use and to separate it from the injection instrument 4. The used needle 2 is inserted into the extraction device through the access opening 27 and then, as can be seen, the separation is effected in a manner identical to what has been described in connection with FIG. 2. The parts of the locking elements 23 which project within the ring 24 have oblique upper faces 23 a, so that the axial pressure exerted on these oblique faces when the connecting end 2 a of the needle 2 is inserted forces them apart, allowing the connecting end to be pushed until it rests against the lip 21 a formed at the upper end of the housing 21 of the needle 2.
The locking elements 23 are now freed and can therefore close again above the upper face of the connecting end 2 a of the needle 2, trapping the latter in the container 21-21 e. The injection instrument 4 can then be separated by applying traction along its axis and by holding the container 21-21 e whose ergonomic shape constitutes an interface making it easy to grasp, whereas this operation would very difficult or even impossible for an inexperienced user if the container were not there. The advantage of the ergonomic interface is still further increased when several containers are arranged side by side and linked by a shared horizontal wall 1 f, which improves the purchase on the shared stand supporting these containers 21-21 e.
In the variation illustrated in
These needles 2 are accessible from one end of the tubular body 31 and the connection with the tip 3 of the injection instrument is effected in the manner described above. In this example the number of needles 2 accommodated in the tubular body is six. The first needle 2, which will be used last, is held in position by a support 32 which is positioned to slide in the tubular body 31. The frictional force between this support 32 and the interior wall of the tubular body 31 is however selected so as to resist the pressure required to effect the connection between the needle 2 and the injection instrument 4. This support 32 has two axial housings 32 a, 32 b placed in mirror symmetry in relation to the centre of the support 32 and with their outward-facing ends open. The diameter of these housings is selected to receive the intermediate portion 2 c of the hypodermic needle 2.
This support 32 and the axial housings 32 a, 32 b make it possible for the needles 2 withdrawn from the tubular body 31 to be inserted, after use, into the other end of the same tubular body 31 and then separated from the injection instrument 4. For this purpose the other end has elastic arms 33 terminating in locking elements 34 like those in the embodiments previously described. These locking elements 34 have bevelled outer faces 34 a bounding an opening of variable diameter. The bevelled faces 34 a are intended to convert the axial force exerted on them by the portion 2 d of the needle 2 into a radial component making it possible for the elastic arms 33 to bend and thus increase the diameter of the opening 37 to allow the connecting end 2 a to pass through it. The support 32 must therefore slide each time that a used needle 2 is inserted through the end of the tubular body 31 provided with locking elements 34.
As is shown in